Holidays Around the World

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Holidays Around the World

Sheila Mendez Castillo, Editorial Editor

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“Happy Holidays” 

It is finally coming towards the end of December! That means Christmas, presents, music, happiness, and family. In the western world Christmas is celebrated on the 25th but what about the rest of world? What do they celebrate in this month and what do they do?

This is a perfect time to dig into some of the other culture’s traditions and customs. It’s a fine way to step out of our comfort zones and enter a clear light, a way to connect with others and understand certain customs that they have. Here is a list of holidays and traditions around the world and what they mean to people!

St. Nicholas Day

December, 6 –  this holiday is widely celebrated in European countries, paying a tribute to the death of St. Nicholas, a man who spent his life helping those who were in need.

The story goes, that a very poor man had three daughters and due to them not having husbands they faced a future involving prostitution. So in order to save his daughters from that fate, St. Nicholas threw a bag of gold through his daughter’s window. The treasures then fell into their shoes and stockings that were left by the fireside. That is how St. Nicholas came to be.

Christmas

December, 25 – this holiday is celebrated among the religious Christian community. On this day many celebrate what is the day Jesus Christ was born. This story, based on the Christian Bible, tells a story of a woman and a man named Mary and Joseph- who flawlessly conceived and gave birth to a baby names Jesus in a stable. This holiday is celebrated by the two billion people worldwide.

Hanukkah

December 2 – December 10 – Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish celebration that shows respect to the Second Temple in Jerusalem. It is believed that those who took part in the re-dedication witnessed an occurred miracle. There was only enough oil to keep menorah candles burn for a single day, and they saw the flames keep burning for eight more nights.

Kwanzaa

December 31– In the year of 1966 after the Watts riots in Los Angeles, this holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. From his research based on several African harvest celebrations, he formed Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits”. This holiday is celebrated by many families in their own unique way, by storytelling, playing music, and having a large family meal.

Omisoka

December 31– On New Year’s Eve, this Japanese holiday is the second- most important day in the Japanese tradition because it is the first day of the old year and the Eve of the new year. On this day Japanese individuals gather around as a family and have a bowl of toshikoshi- soba, which is a noodle dish, that has long noodles that represent the crossing of one year to the next.

Las Posadas

December 16 – December 24Beginning on December 16 and ending nine days later, on December 24, Las Posadas pays respect to the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. Each night, one family agrees to house the pilgrims. And so it begins: At dusk, a procession of the faithful takes to the streets with children often dressed as angels and shepherds. Religious figures, images and lighted candles are a part of the festivities.

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